These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Arguably the biggest ever, at least in music. Metallica was the largest reason that the Grammys created the "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental" award in 1989, and then they lost to Jethro Tull (the members of whom hadn't even shown up to the ceremony since they weren't expected to win). The look on Lars' face (as the band stood offstage literally just after they had played a blistering performance of "One") was priceless. Alice Cooper and Lita Ford, who presented the award, said "Jethro Tull?" in the form of a question when they read the name off the winner card, and booing could be heard from the crowd. The resulting backlash and criticism against the Academy resulted in the category being split into two separate ones; "Best Hard Rock Performance" and "Best Heavy Metal Performance", the latter of which Metallica won for the next three years afterward and holds the record for most won.
When they finally won for an album in 1992 (they had won for individual songs in the two previous years), Lars Ulrich jokingly thanked Jethro Tull for "not putting out an album this year" (referring to how Paul Simon jokingly thanked Stevie Wonder for not releasing an album that year, after winning Album of the Year in 1976).
Several. Some fans only like their first three albums claiming the band died with Cliff and disliking the more progressive metal sound for "And Justice For All". Some only listen to their first 4 albums, calling sellout on anything post-Black Album. Some fans include The Black Album as canon but dislike their their change in style for the albums after that. Some like Load and ReLoad but dislike St. Anger (and some like Load but not ReLoad). Some listen to anything they put out. Some of any of the aforementioned consider Death Magnetic to be a nice recovery and more like their pre-Black Album work, and some have blacklisted it due to poor audio quality
There are even fans who insist that Metallica was at its best when Dave Mustaine was lead guitarist, despite the fact that Dave was only in the band for a year and never played on any of their albums. Obviously there aren't a lot of these people because they would have had to have seen the band live when Metallica was still an unknown band playing heavy metal clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but they do exist.
This one applies more to Dave's guitar riffs than to Dave himself. Although Dave didn't actually play on any of the albums, his riffs were used on their first two, and he has writing credits on them. Hence, the claims that the band started going downhill after Master of Puppets.
Contested Sequel: Legitimately every album, with the possible exceptions of ReLoad to Load (because they're basically a double album released separately) and Lulu to everything, because everyone hates it. Even their first album is one.
MASTER OF PUPPETS I'M PULLING YOUR STRINGS! TWISTING YOUR MIND AND SMASHING YOUR DREAMS!
SEARCHING... SEEK AND DESTROY!
BOW DOWN TO THE PHANTOM LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRD!
TIME MARCHES ON ONON...FOR WHOM THE BELL TOOOOLLLLLLS!
GIMME FUEL, GIMME FIRE, GIMME THAT WHICH I DESIRE! OOOH, YEAH-EH!!!
Ending Fatigue: By the band's own admission, this was one of the reasons for the style change with The Black Album. Kirk made a comment about the songs being "too fucking long" and his claim that one of the band members swore that they'd never play "...And Justice For All" (the song) again after a grueling concert (he also mentioned "seeing the front row start to yawn by the 8th minute").
They've gone back to Epic Rocking (for a given definition of "Epic") in St. Anger though. And a more indisputable form in Death Magnetic.
Regarding songs, "Fuel" from ReLoad definitely qualifies, as it has a more thrashy tone than the other songs in the album, and for having a very car racing-ish sound. It even has its own official video and is often played live, all complete with Great Balls Of Fire, a thing that makes its live performances very unique.
Even Better Sequel: Kill 'Em All is an influential classic, yet Metallica managed to top it thrice in a row (Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets - considered by many as their Magnum Opus - and ...And Justice For All). That's not even counting Death Magnetic that was released almost 20 years later.
Which album(s) depends on who you ask, but St. Anger is perhaps the most universally ignored. Even the band themselves acknowledge this, as they rarely play any of the St. Anger songs during their live sets, and Ulrich mocked the album in this clip.
Lulu seems to be going this way, and a lot faster too.
Though it's debatable how much Lulu is part of their continuity anyway, since Lou Reed was responsible for most of the input.
At one point in the 80's, during an interview Cliff Burton was asked who in the band would probably die first. Burton guessed it would be him.
A related, if rather creepy one: according to the Other Wiki, Cliff won a game of drawing cards to determine which bunk he would get...by drawing the ace of spades. It is known as the death card in fortune telling, popular myth and folklore.
Another one by Cliff during the band's last performance. After they performed "Blitzkrieg" (which they did on a whim), he shouts "See ya!" Fortunately, at least, this isn't the last thing he's ever recorded saying. Shortly afterward, he shouts "YEAH!" Which might not make it that much better, but it's something.
Funny Moments: From the Live Shit: Binge and Purge performance of "Seek and Destroy"
Growing the Beard: Ride the Lightning was the album where the band's thematic compositions transitioned entirely from teenage metalhead desires to more complex and mature subjects.
Harsher in Hindsight: The line "Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation take me home?" from "To Live Is to Die." Considering this line was found in one of Cliff's notebooks...
Worse yet, it's also Cliff's epitaph.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Subverted; Guitar World published a fake review of Kill 'Em All after The Black Album was released:
"What is this crap? The guitars sound like rusty chainsaws and the singer barks like he wants to be let outside to chase a cat. This band has a huge underground buzz, but they're not going anywhere. I'll stake my entire reputation on that. Jeff Gilbert; GW."
To a certain extent, the band has had to deal with this after each new album due to their Unpleasable Fanbase, and usually goes hand in hand with something new on each album. Hetfield in particular is known to find it amusing. However, The Black Album is by far the most prominent example. It provided them with a lot of success, making them the biggest heavy metal band in the world after its release but also gave them a lot of hatred and sell out accusations from their original fan-base.
It's also worth noting that the band itself believed this trope originally, claiming they would never do a music video nor change their style to become more successful, stating that doing so would be selling out, yet later loosened up about them and did both.
Magnum Opus: Lars says that he considers ...And Justice For All to be this. Fans generally claim that Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets is more worthy of the title, although a common reaction to ...Justice is that it has fantastic songs but was ruined by awful production (which is also a common reaction to Death Magnetic).
Memetic Mutation: When singing, Hetfield has a tendency to end words with -AHH! tacked on to them, like THIS-AHH!! This tendency sometimes gets made fun of, but it's usually in good fun. There's also the issue of "Frantic" from St Anger. Frantic tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick...you get the point. More recently, "Split apart" from "My Apocalypse" from Death Magnetic and "I am the table" from their much-ballyhooed collaboration with Lou Reed have been smaller examples.
Memetic Villain: Dave Mustaine. On any videos of concert mishaps, expect Dave to be blamed (jokingly, of course).
This is all true about Jason, but Kirk did say something to the effect that St. Anger was in a sense Jason's vision for where the band would go, but he was the "sacrificial lamb" for that to happen. Presumably, though, he wanted it without the outlandishly terrible sound.
The people who dislike Lulu tend to blame Metallica despite the fact that they had practically nothing to do with the writing process.
Lou Reed was quite possibly being a troll with this album. Remember, he may have been able to craft masterpieces with Velvet Underground, but this is the same man who brought us Metal Machine Music.
The lack of bass on Justice is often accused of being an act of hazing towards Jason by James and Lars. Producer Flemming Rasmussen, who was not present for the mixing, indeed claims the first thing James and Lars demanded on hearing the initial mixes was that the bass be turned down. Ultimately, mixers Steven Thompson and Mike Barbiero "scooped" James' guitar tone (cut the middle tones out, leaving only highs and lows), Jason messed up on the bass lines (doubling the guitar parts, rather than following the kick drum as taught in Bass 101), and mixing the bass to normal levels (for Metallica; even before Jason they weren't a bass-heavy band, and switching from a finger bassist to a pick bassist made for louder bass at the same mixer levels) would have drowned out the low part of James's rhythm guitar. The result made Rasmussen joke that "Jason, Toby [Wright, engineer] and I are probably the only people who know what the bass parts actually sounded like on that album." Thankfully, a version that restores the bass can be found online, named And Justice for Jason, although it muddles up the low end, and Jason's pick slapping gets annoying enough after several tracks to think James and Lars may have had a point.
Newsted admitted his mistakes when he appeared on the first 2013 episode of That Metal Show and the issue was brought up. He said that he recorded his parts by himself with no input from anyone else, using the same equipment, bass, and engineers that he used in his former band Flotsam and Jetsam. Also, since he wrote the music in F&J and the guitarists took their cues from him, his bass parts on Justice were too much like a rhythm guitar, and ended up clashing both note-wise and sonically with Hetfield's actual rhythm guitar parts.
Alas, Poor Scrappy: Jason again after he left. In keeping with the band's Unpleasable Fanbase, after spending 14 years as the Replacement Scrappy, he left, only for some of those fans to suddenly decide he really was very talented and how terrible it was that the other members mistreated him like they did.
Win BACK The Crowd: If you can get past the mastering, many fans consider Death Magnetic to be a return to classic Metallica following the widely-disliked albums Load, ReLoad, and St.Anger.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Averted mostly, they show up in the top 5 of any list of the best heavy metal bands, but occasionally people forget just how heavy they were when they came out. This song was the face of mainstream heavy metal in 1982/3. This is Metallica's first song.
To further emphasize just how heavy Metallica was at the time, check out this sample of (the magazine) Rolling Stones' review of then newly released ...And Justice for All.
"Thrash is too demeaning a term for this metametal, a marvel of precisely channeled aggression. There are few verse-chorus structures, just collages done at Mach 8."
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: In addition to each new album leading to them being accused of selling out they also get accused of this after each one. Though The Black Album is the most prominent example, even their pre-Black Album works get this; Ride the Lightning for having a ballad, Master of Puppets for being slightly less thrash sounding than the previous two albums, and And Justice For All for having a more progressive metal sound. In addition to making them commercially successful, Metallica, aka, "The Black Album" also marked a big change in their musical style to a more general heavy metal sound. Load and Re Load continued that change to an alternative rock sound, and St. Anger to nu metal.